May I let myself some lyrics? This interview gave me a meeting with people who truly love and understand each other. Such an incredible feeling ultimately brings success – the success in whatever they do: their business, family life, or flights. Oleksiy and Yulia embody harmony! Sadly, readers cannot hear how they told their stories and joked and how they looked at each other. Augmented reality and photos are also of little help and cannot convey that atmosphere. I also advise you to visit Yellow Plane – the restaurant where one can enjoy the atmosphere of happiness.
You have an aircraft – this is undoubtedly a good solution, but quite expensive for Ukraine. How to learn to think creatively and outside the box? How do such bold ideas come to your mind?
Yulia: Oleksiy is an idea generator. I do not stop him from putting his ideas into practice. How to learn?... I don't know. Probably, you should be born with it. Maybe we were raised that way – nobody stopped us from inventing.
Oleksiy: I think it's synergy. I have pragmatic thinking, and Yulia is windy creative. When taken together, these energies produce really exciting things.
Yulia: And even "knockdown fights" at times. An artist sees things in one way which may be unimplementable from the business point of view. It is how our disputes arise.
And how do you resolve them?
Yulia: We do what I want. How else can we resolve them? Even when it is impossible, we still do that way.
Oleksiy: Nothing is impossible. Of course, every sane person has a fear – a fear of flying, of starting building a restaurant or buying a plane. On the one hand, you have to weigh all the pros and cons, and on the other, dare to go forward and take the risk. I would say there must be a risk, but common sense must come first.
But the risk does not always bring pleasure. Problems arise as you go. What are the pros and cons of having such a lifestyle?
Yulia: My life is far from boring and monotonous. I do not have to search for new entertainments. Life gives me many reasons for personal development and opportunities as well. We can travel even for short distances to recharge ourselves with new emotions and positive experience. It is very cool and a big plus! Again, sometimes it is a great pleasure to feel you are the owner of a small restaurant or a large country restaurant and suites. It is not a reason to "turn up your nose" but enjoy that it is you who have done all that. I like coming to the restaurant and creating as I wish without seeking approvals from others. Or I can come to the kitchen and cook something new with the team.
Oleksiy: I see no minuses; I only see the pluses. We have an interesting hobby; we have an interesting beautiful business. It brings pleasure and creative inspiration to Yulia and income to our family. We can boast that we can board our small plane at night and fly to Bulgaria, for example.
I know that not only Yulia is creative. I found that the restaurant holds many musical events. Is it your domain?
Oleksiy: It's a hobby. We have a "garage band" as I call it. We play all that music we wanted to play as teenagers but could not. Now we give a few concerts a year for our friends. Thanks to this hobby we are developing a musical direction at the Yellow Plane. I am very excited to see those "green" cover bands which played at our restaurant and now have a full house. We have seen them developing, and they are still pleased to play at our restaurant and do it on the same terms.
Do you listen to music on board?
Oleksiy: We listen to the controller on board. When onboard, you have other things to worry about – you should be always attentive and keep your ears and eyes open not to miss important information.
Is it difficult to fly?
Yulia: Not for me, I am a positive and cheerful passenger.
Oleksiy: At the recent gathering of small aircrafts, our photo won the Heavenly Dreams Award. On that photo, I am driving, while Yuliya and her friend are sleeping sweetly. For them, it is not hard to fly at all. As for me, it’s rather no than yes. Probably one out of ten people will not be able to be at controls. I think it is no more difficult than driving a car.
What is your craziest flight?
Oleksiy: Probably it was Bulgaria I have already mentioned. We were having a BBQ party, and someone came up with a splendid idea: let's fly to the sea! We decided at night, and a day later we were swimming in Burgas.
Wouldn’t the Black Sea in Odesa be a better option?
Oleksiy: No, it is not interesting. What is Odesa? One hour and a half – and you are there. Here is another story: you have to cross the border and land in Romania to refuel your plane. It is an international flight with all that it implies.
And what does a passenger feel?
Yulia: I proudly call myself "co-pilot Drinkings" (ed.: Kalambur Sketch TV Show) because I can assist the first pilot – I can hold a tablet or give a sandwich. We are serious airlines: we are not a lowcoster – we serve meals onboard and even offer drinks for those who are not at controls. Of course, I enjoy the views and landscapes and take exciting photos. And I can touch the clouds literally – they are as soft as cotton wool.
I’m exploring the unknown world with you. But let’s step a little from the topic of flights. I know you also have a family business – the Yellow Plane Restaurant. Many couples do different things to take some rest from each other during the day and meet again at night. In my understanding, you are together 24/7?
Oleksiy: To be precise, we have different businesses. The digital agency Lemon.ua is the core business, a joint one. And to have rest from each other, we differentiate our responsibilities: Yulia deals more with the restaurant, and I focus on the agency.
Yulia: But we come across in both of those places. Here is my boss (ed.: points to Alexey). I even have no one to complain to – a woman usually complains of her boss to her husband. What I can do is defriend him from my Facebook page, and even then, I am not sure it would work out. We manage to be together for so many years somehow.
What is the secret?
Yulia: We learned to take a back seat and give room to the partner. It seems to me that the main thing is to keep silent when necessary and then to solve all the issues together.
Oleksiy: Everyone has an ideal. For me, it is Yulia.
What one should and should not do in a family business?
Oleksiy: There are several principles. The first is the main: if your relations come in conflict with your business, sacrifice your business, no matter how risky and unprofitable would be your decision. Second is that we must make a compromise. Our experience shows that what seems like a concession or a wrong decision will ultimately turn out to be the best solution in most cases. Third: you should have a boundary. In other words, you need to understand that when you get home, you must, or at least try to, switch off the doing-business function inside of you.
Yulia: It would also be good to differentiate responsibilities in business – both personalities, the creator and the pragmatist, need to learn how to come to terms. For example, the one who controls the entire restaurant management should not get in the middle of how the chef makes his best salad.
Oleksiy: The rule of the last word works well here. Differentiating responsibilities does not mean that nobody cares. It means that there is one who has the final say. There must be a clear boundary: these decisions are mine, and those are yours.
You have a very cozy and pleasant venue. I will share my impressions with readers: first, you are driving your car on a noisy highway, then drive off and get into a quiet harbor – a very comfortable environment. You probably need a special inner condition to create such a comfortable place?
Yulia: We do what would be most pleasant for us. If we are happy to be here not because it is our job, then probably we do the right things.
Oleksiy: Another thing is that we travel a lot and have the opportunity to spy on what we like. A bright room, wooden furniture, and a minimalist ceiling design – we spied all these ideas somewhere. And when we took all the things together, we got the venue we like.
Being in a restaurant and not asking about food would be a crime. What do you serve to your guests?
Yulia: We serve simple food – it is a roadside restaurant. It is very difficult to say what is most delicious – it depends on the guest’s preferences. Our son Andrei loves a salad – it is Caesar with some changes. He asked us to give a special name to his favorite dish, and you can find it as Andro on the menu. Our youngest daughter likes mozzarella with tomatoes, and we named it Mozzarella Mama Maria.
Oleksiy: I would not say that our menu is simple. It was developed by trial and error as we had to combine many seemingly incompatible factors. It needs to be safe because people eat on the road. On the other hand, the menu should be original. And, of course, pricing and presentation do matter. So, today’s menu is the result of two-year brainstorming and continuous improvements.
Yulia: No one will stay hungry here: you can order meat or vegan dishes. Besides, we are very pet-friendly: take your dogs with you – we always have a treat for them.
Finally, is there any question I have not asked you but you would like to answer?
Oleksiy: I am not sure I want to answer this question, but I was trying to find a witty answer to the question about money. Now I am pleasantly surprised not to hear it.
I would better tell you one story. It is about a Frenchman. All the wooden items you see in our restaurant, and even chalets for guests, were made by one French guy. He met one Ukrainian girl and, probably, contrary to her plans, moved here to live. Once he came to us and was surprised that our staff speaks English. He told us that he is a very good carpenter, but no one understands him: he wants to do beautiful things, but everyone needs cheaper and easier. We invited him, and I did not regret this decision for a second. We have got a piece of Europe in the construction chaos. He used to come exactly at eight and worked until five without unnecessary questions and always on time. Philip was like a "sunbeam" in the "thunderclouds" of our construction.
Yulia: And I am surprised that you did not ask to fly with us?
Yulia: Of course, you can. We will fly!